Moscow, Ankara discussing joint production of Su-35 jets

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said Moscow and Ankara are discussing the joint production of Russian Su-35 jets and other military hardware.

"Our guests from Turkey began to get acquainted with the achievements of the Russian aircraft-manufacturing industry, they watched the flight programme. We showed the SU-35 multirole fighters, the fifth-generation SU-57 fighter during the programme,"  Russian state-funded news site Sputnik quoted Putin as saying during a press conference following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Turkish president arrived in Russia on Tuesday for a working visit to hold a meeting with Putin and attend the MAKS-2019 international aviation and space salon in Zhukovsky, southeast of Moscow. 

"We want to continue our solidarity [with Russia] in many areas of the defense industry. It can be on passenger or fighter aircraft. The whole thing is the spirit of solidarity," Erdoğan said.

Ankara began considering the Russian Su-35s following a move by the United States last month to halt the delivery of the F-35 stealth fighter jets to Turkey, after the country took delivery of Russian-made S-400 missile systems amid concerns that it may lead to possible Russian subterfuge.

The Russian president also said that he was ready to facilitate for Turkish pilots to fly the Russian Su-30SM fighter jets. 

The pair discussed the situation in Syria’s northwestern rebel-held Idlib province, as well as political, economic and defence cooperation between the two countries.

Putin said that he and his Turkish counterpart Erdoğan have outlined additional joint measures aimed at rooting out "terrorists" in Syria's Idlib.

"The situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone is causing serious concern for us and our Turkish colleagues. Terrorists continue to shell the positions of Syrian government troops, try to attack Russian military facilities. The de-escalation zone should not serve as a refuge for militants and, moreover, a springboard for new attacks," the Russian president said.

Moscow and Ankara brokered a deal in September to rid the region free of heavy weapons and fighters, helping avert a government assault on the region, the last stronghold of Syrian President Bashar Assad's opponents. However, Russia-backed Syrian government forces on August 8 launched a ground offensive against the southern part of the rebel-held region.

"Together with Turkey's president we have outlined additional joint steps to neutralise the terrorists' nests in Idlib and normalisation of the situation there and in the whole of Syria as a result," Putin said.

The Turkish presidency has said regime attacks in Idlib have led to a “grave humanitarian crisis”.

Tens of thousands of people in the province  have fled to the Turkish border over the last few days as the Syrian army pushes a major advance further into the region.